Balasore: India test-fired its home-grown air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) missile, the Astra, for the second time in two days from its Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in the coastal district of Balasore, near here.
Officials said the Astra, meaning 'weapon' in Sanskrit, was tested just a little after 10 am on Monday. The fights are aimed at studying the ballistic performance and control of the missile at low altitudes and shorter ranges, as part of an ongoing development programme of the missile. The missile is apparently being tested for effectiveness in the 25-40 km range.
Scientists had tested the missile on Sunday as well.
Astra has been developed by the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL).
Meanwhile plans to test the Dhanush, a naval version of the Prithvi surface-to-surface missile, from a warship in the Bay of Bengal off the Orissa coast on Sunday have been postponed due to certain technical problems, according to sources. It would appear that the tests might have been brought forward to the next week.
The Astra is the first indigenous air-to-air missile developed by India and is reported to have a strike range of 80 km in head-on chase and 15 km in tail chase. This missile has undergone tests earlier in 2003 and 2005. Reportedly the Astra uses an indigenously developed solid fuel propellant, though a rocket/ramjet propulsion system, similar to that used in the Akash SAM project, is also under consideration.
The missile has an onboard radio-frequency seeker and an active homing range of 15 km. Armed with a pre-fragmented warhead it is also fitted with a proximity fuse. Apart from the existing radar fuse, work may also be on to arm it with a new laser fuse.
It needs to be stressed that all this is dated information, and that over two years, since last tested, the missile's performance parameters may have changed.